Shopify and Magento are the two of the most popular ecommerce platforms used by the majority of businesses across the globe. Both the platforms offer a wide range of features and functionalities that help in setting up an online store in the quickest possible time.
When you choose Shopify you don’t need to host your website anywhere else as it is a hosted platform. The easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface in Shopify with its expansive themes helps in building your store within no time. It is the most affordable options in the market, especially for small businesses who don’t want to spend much on hosting and web development.
Magento, on the other hand, requires you to host your own website as it is an open-source platform. It also requires technical knowledge as it is more complex as compared to Shopify. Having said that when it comes to flexibility and customisation options, it scores better than Shopify. Larger businesses prefer Magento over other platforms owing to its advanced features.
Overview of Shopify vs Magento
Before we delve deep into comparing the two ecommerce platforms, it is better to have a clear understanding of how each platform performs and what are its features, advantages and disadvantages. This will help in making an informed decision when it comes to choosing between the two platforms.
Shopify is a full packaged ecommerce platform that can help you create, manage and grow your online store from scratch. Owing to its easy-to-use features, it has grown to become one of the most popular ecommerce platforms with millions of merchants using it for their online businesses.
Shopify helps merchants to build and customize their online stores and sell across different platforms like web, mobile, in person, online marketplaces, and even physical locations. As it is a cloud-based hosted platform, users can access their business and run them from anywhere.
Apart from its themes, Shopify’s core products include integrated payment processing, SEO features and marketing tools. Users can also access Shopify APIs and development tools if they want to customize their stores further.
Furthermore, there are thousands of apps and features available in the Shopify App Store built by third-party developers which can be used to customize the store without editing the code. What’s more, there’s a marketplace of Shopify experts which helps merchants in customizing solutions.
Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform which offers advanced features and versatile functionalities. The initial release of this platform took place in 2008, and it has since then grown to become one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Written in the PHP programming language, Magento uses multiple other frameworks like Laminas and Symfony. Apart from that, it also uses the PHP programming language, MySQL.
There are a variety of features and capabilities on offer by Magento which includes a shopping cart system, multiple payment gateway support, shipping, and multi lingual support. It also provides a host of SEO and marketing tools. Additionally, Magento comprises of an built-in server-side Apache Varnish caching and enhanced static content browser caching.
Magento comes across as an ideal option for larger businesses who want to establish their presence online. Apart from having a flexible model that helps in making store changes, it also offers exceptional performance and security. Overall, Magento is a robust ecommerce platform that is secure and has the right capabilities and tools for a better ecommerce store experience.
Shopify and Magento: The Key Differences
Here are some key differences you should consider before choosing one of the two:
Pricing and Plans
Shopify starts at $29/month with their Basic Shopify plan, whereas Magento being an open source platform is free. However, with Magento you need a hosting provider, and also need to hire Magento developers, the costs of which are high. To work in a budget, Shopify would be a better choice.
Ease of Use
With Shopify it is easy to set up an online store quickly as it is very user-friendly. Owing to its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, themes, and apps, even a non-technical person can easily set up shop. Magento on the other hand has a steeper learning curve and would require a developer to set up and customize your online store on its platform. If you want to launch your store faster and at an affordable cost, Shopify is a better option.
Magento scores above Shopify in this area as it is highly customizable. Owing to a vast number of extensions and its ability to tweak any code, Magento is more preferred as compared to Shopify which has its own limitations when it comes to customization. However, Shopify has many free and paid themes as well as apps which can be used without any coding knowledge. For advanced customization needs, Magento may be better.
Both Shopify and Magento comprise of essential ecommerce features like payments, shipping, inventory, blogging, etc. Magento has more advanced B2B features, while Shopify focuses on ease of use, which is preferable for small to midsize businesses.
Shopify Advantages and Disadvantages
- Easy to Use:- Users don’t need any coding or design experience to build a Shopify store. You just need to choose a template, add your products and you are ready to go.
- Variety of Features:- You can add functionality to your store by adding products, managing inventory, setting shipping options, create discount codes and much more. More advanced features like B2B integration is also available on Shopify.
- Multiple Payment Processors:- There are options to choose from a host of payment processors like PayPal, Stripe and Shopify’s in-built payment – Shopify Payments.
- Shopify Themes:- There are many free and paid themes that users can choose according to their business requirements. This ensures fast creation of stores.
- Customization Limitations:- Although there are a number of themes available on Shopify, customization options are limited. You need to hire a designer to change the look and feel of your store.
- Transaction Fees:- Each sale is charged a transaction fee on Shopify if you are using any third party payment gateway other than Shopify Payments.
- No E-mail Hosting:- If you need an email address you have to take it from an external provider as Shopify does not provide one.
- Migration Difficulties:- Migrating to other platforms from Shopify can result in data loss, which is its biggest disadvantage.
Magento Advantages and Disadvantages
- Highly Customizable:- Magento is highly flexible and can be customized according to specific business needs. Users have complete control over the look, features, and functionality of their store.
- Built-in Marketing Tools:- There are several marketing features like coupon codes, cross-sells, upsells, and integrated email marketing that come along with Magento that helps boost sales.
- Open-source and Self-hosted:- Users can freely modify the Magento software, and host the platform on their own servers.
- Steep Learning Curve:- Magento’s interface is more complex and less intuitive as compared to Shopify. Non-technical users may find it difficult to understand.
- Requires Technical Expertise:- Any kind of configuration, customization, and maintenance of your Magento store requires the help of technical experts. This can prove to be expensive and time-consuming.
- Slower Performance:- Magento stores typically take more loading time than Shopify stores as it is a self-hosted setup. Also, users have to optimize their stores regularly to improve speed.
- Limited Support:- Magento is an open-source platform, so it has limited support. You have to be dependent on community forums or hire Magento experts to help in tacking issues.
Overall, Magento is an ideal platform for large businesses that want maximum control over their store and also want to customize it from time to time. However, its complexity calls for time, money, and technical resources for set up and maintenance. Shopify on the other hand is easy to use, but is less flexible. The choice between the two comes down to your priorities and resources.
Shopify vs. Magento – By the Numbers
Numbers matter a lot when it comes to choosing the right ecommerce platform. Here are some key stats that compare Shopify and Magento in terms of figures:
Shopify has more than 6,00,000 businesses on board in approximately 175 countries who are using its platform to run their online stores. Magento has over 2,50,000 merchants on its platform across the globe. Both the platforms have a strong presence globally, so selling your products to customers worldwide won’t be a problem.
There are around 8,000 apps on Shopify’s app store. Whereas Magento has over 4,000 extensions in its marketplace. Both the platform have plenty of integration options that can enhance your store.
Shopify’s basic plan starts at $29/month, while Magento’s open-source Community Edition is free to download and use. However, to install and maintain Magento you will need technical assistance. On the other hand, Shopify being a fully hosted SaaS platform, can help in getting your store running quickly without any technical assistance from developers or tech teams.
Shopify’s sales volume from stores on its platform has clocked over $700 billion since its inception. Magento’s merchant sales total over $155 billion annually. Both platforms are well-equipped to support high-volume stores.
The Bottom Line – Which Ecommerce Platform Is Right for You?
Out of the two, Shopify is probably the easiest one to get started with, while Magento is the most flexible and scalable, but requires technical knowledge. You need to evaluate both platforms in details based on your needs and technical skills of your team to determine which one suits best for your business.
In the end, you need to weigh both and see what makes the most sense for your business and budget. The stats mentioned in this blog show that both are equally capable of powering successful stores, you just need to determine which one will work best for you. To enhance your online business using these powerful platforms you can partner with CartCoders who can strategize the ecommerce process and build you a successful online store.